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Puffins, Razorbills, and a Whale

Good morning everyone. We are currently anchored in Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan’s Island. We left Camden yesterday morning, performed under way drills with the Coast Guard aboard, and tacked out of the bay to see the alcids gathered around Seal Island for the second of our 2 annual Maine Audubon trips.

The southwest wind was just perfect after 2 days of northwest. The ocean was quite flat and the sun was warm. Seal Island is where nesting puffins have been re-established and they were out in full force along with numerous razor bills (as seen in this photo by Jen), and guillemots. Roseate, arctic and common terns by the thousands protect the nesting alcids from predators like gulls and at one moment we saw them rise from the island in a swarm. Like little kids we just were so excited to be witness to this annual ritual when the puffins come ashore to nest in burrows.

The down wind run to Swan’s Island was marked by sighting many immature gannets. A few greater shearwaters, and a (?) sooty shearwater passed by as well. The question mark indicates that our eyes may have been strained by hopeful thoughts as much as by the binoculars. Wilson’s storm petrels were also too numerous to count. While gazing at the bold eastern shore of Isle au Haut, deckhand Annie had a minke whale surface right in the field of her binoculars. The whale surface half a dozen times and we all had quite a show before it made its terminal dive out of sight. Two bald eagles, one mature in an island spruce and one immature that flew directly overhead at sunset as we anchored welcomed us to Swan’s Island. How are we ever going to top this?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

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